Book Review: The Little Spark

The Little Spark:  30 Ways To Increase Your Creativity, by Carrie Bloomston

I did not consider this to be a bad book, though I think the author was herself somewhat confused as to what she was trying to accomplish with this book.  The book is written to encourage people to be artsy and crafty, and most of the advice in the book is dedicated so such matters, but a great deal of the works that she cites deal with creativity in terms of writing, which is something that she doesn’t emphasize.  In this case we have someone who wrote a book and used the example of people writing books on creativity involving writing but with the intent to encourage people to be creative in other endeavors besides writing despite the relative paucity of advice she brings in such matters.  One wonders if the author simply does not want more competition when it comes to writing books about creativity, of which there are admittedly quite a lot, or that the author herself is only a writer secondarily and prefers to be creative in other areas, like visual art, and so does not know enough about writing to wish to encourage others to do it just as she has.  At any rate, it is a puzzling matter.

This book is a bit more than 100 pages long and is richly illustrated and seeks to provide 30 tips for what someone can do to improve their creativity.  The author’s suggestions begin with just starting (1), creating space for one’s atelier (2), taking a class (3), avoiding the voices that tell you that you are crazy (4), and devote time to one’s creativity (5).  She then moves on to talk about making a huge mess (6), giving oneself permission (7), developing a process (8), being gracious about one’s efforts (9), and breaking one’s own rules to do something different (10).  The author encourages the reader to have a jar of markers handy (11), go window shopping (12), getting in one’s body (13), take care of one’s inner child (14), and overcome doubt (15).  After that the author encourages the reader to have a secret (16), find inspiration (17), focus on pleasure (18), make a vision board (19), and create a mission statement (20).  This leads the writer to seek inspiration from fear (21), finding one’s own voice (22), repeating and building habits (23), shining one’s light (24), and making a Soulbox (25).  Finally, the author closes with a discussion on taking a day off (26), sharing one’s work with others (27), giving it away (28), leaving everything on the field (29), and trusting oneself (30), after which the author ends with a discussion of contributors and some information about the author.

It should be noted, though, that although this book is far better for those who are seeking to use it to encourage themselves to be more creative in dance or cooking or art or sculpture or something of that nature than it is for those who are writers, it must be admitted that there are still issues with this book even so.  Among the biggest issues is the fact that the author herself is not really all that qualified to be an expert on creativity, given the modesty of her own achievements.  On top of that, the author offers a great deal of supposed insights that come from mediocre pop psychology or New Age thinking, and if there is one thing the world needs less of it is people who use their half-baked Buddhism to promote ideas about creativity.  As someone who has read dozens of such books I have little tolerance for such folly as regularly finds its way to printers who want to capitalize on the desire people have to be flattered about their creativity and given bad advice on how to hone it and improve it.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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